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Letters to the Editor for May 27, 2021

Wed, 05/26/2021 - 18:54

Maidstone Helped
May 24, 2021

Dear David,

The Springs Food Pantry has received generous assistance and donations from many individuals and institutions over the past 14 months. The Maidstone Club once again helped us through the winter with a weekly donation of onions, carrots, and potatoes for our recipients. Their actions, quietly offered and gratefully accepted, lightened our weekly expenses and carried us through.

We wish to thank the Maidstone Country Club for again reaching out to our food pantry. It is a great feeling to know that our mission is supported by the community at large.



Moderator, Springs Food Pantry


The Simple Cure
May 24, 2021

Dear David,

Just a brief note of sincere thank-you to all the fine folks who have helped the “Ladles of Love” telethon last Thursday.

What great fun. There was dancing on your living room rug from the best local bands that were more than just music. They, along with some great sponsors, Saunders, Sound Aircraft, LTV, Bay Street Theater, Stephen Talkhouse, and mostly you, helped raise money for our local food pantries from Wainscott to Montauk.

The likes of John Kowalenko and Darius Narizzano produced a fantastic show and if you missed it, well, there is next year. We will keep you posted.

The importance of our food pantries is so needed, and you, the fine folks and volunteers, make it possible for us to feed the hungry, especially the children and seniors. Want to see what’s going on in our pantry? Just stop by at the

Again, thanks so much, and remember, we don’t need a researcher to find a cure, the simple cure is you.



One Big Lawn
May 21, 2021

To the Editor:

After reading Thursday’s Thought in the May 20 edition of The Star I thought I can’t let this mistake go. I’m a geography nut so this was a glaring error. The Huffington Post reported that NASA in collaboration with Mountain West found that the U.S. was covered with more than 63,000 square miles of lawn, about the size of Texas.

People would think that’s huge. The problem is Texas is 268,597 square miles. Georgia, with 59,425 square miles, would be a closer comparison. Either NASA or The Huffington Post, which didn’t fact-check the numbers, made the mistake(s).

Dave, you’re off the hook; you only reported the story, not concurred in the error. That’s still a big lawn.




Try the Park
East Hampton
May 10, 2021

Dear David,

Last year, when the pandemic began its assault on our nation, many workout patterns of older citizens changed dramatically. Locally the Y closed, and the school district forbade our use of the track. Those of us who walked, jogged, ran, or biked were shut down, except for a few unsafe choices. We could use the nature trails with tree roots and rocks or we could walk or run on roads like Long Lane with speeding cars and unfocused drivers. Other roads are too narrow or have no safe shoulders. 

In my frustration, I called the town board. Someone suggested that I should try the park on Stephen Hand’s Path. Even though I live within three miles, I was unaware of its existence. The next morning I drove to the park.

As you enter the park, you can see the abandoned school on your right and soccer fields on your left. The town wisely transformed the school into a vaccination center that has provided local folks the opportunity to be vaccinated without traveling long distances.

Since my introduction to the park, I have been its most loyal customer. I walk about three miles each morning and return in the afternoon to walk one mile with my youngest son. It is safe and quiet. There are two suggestions that I am recommending to the town board to improve the value of the park to the community.

There is a sign in the park that says, “Keep your parks beautiful.” Unfortunately, the park is not beautiful now because of the collection of plastic bottles, broken glass, cigarette butts, discarded facemasks, and various other debris. These need to be removed.

The second suggestion has to do with the walkway. It needs to be replaced or repaved in many areas. As one of those seniors who use the park frequently, I am willing to oversee the cleaning-up process. I invite the town board to provide support for this effort and to make plans for the paving that needs to be done. “And miles to go before I sleep.”



Too High-Tech
May 24, 2021

Dear Editor,

The new village parking system is way too high-tech for many of us of a certain age. I find it discriminatory.

I called the Village Hall about this matter and they did not seem to care. It seems if you are not a village resident, you are not their concern.

I occasionally use the long-term parking lot to take the Hampton Jitney into the city. I used to put a five-dollar bill in the machine and go on my way. Now I guess I will have to take a taxi.



No Intention
East Hampton
May 20, 2021

To the Editor:

The parking plan in effect in East Hampton was well covered in The East Hampton Star of May 20.

I had never looked into the possibilities of how getting the app on your phone could lead to a dangerous outcome. I just thought that in my own case, I was not going to glom up my phone with an app that to me seemed useless.

I have village and town beach passes on my window. To me that was quite enough to identify who I was. I had, also, no intention of misusing the parking lot at any time. Grocery shopping, drugstore shopping, and an occasional stop at Papas or the Blue Parrot.

I have no intention of downloading the app under any circumstance.



Have No Apps
East Hampton Village
May 20, 2021

To the Editor:

The Village of East Hampton’s blithely using an app to pay for certain local parking surely is legally question-able, or at least implies that everyone who owns a car and/or drives a car must have a mobile phone that is enabled for Wi-Fi. Personally, while I do have a functioning mobile phone, it is not enabled for Wi-Fi, which entails also signing up for an internet service from a nongovernmental commercial business.

I quite deliberately have not enabled Wi-Fi on my mobile phone. I use it only for telephone communication and fairly often as a camera. I have no apps, and probably never will have. Luckily I am a resident of East Hampton Village so as I understand it, so long as I am within the time limits and have my village parking sticker I will not be needing the app, though what I have read today makes even this sound unclear. Frankly, I do not want to be able to receive emails except at my computer while safely sitting at my desk.

Call me a Luddite, but I will be happy to wear the label proudly. The use of mobile phones while driving has become not only a pest but a genuine danger on our roads and highways, as it pulls drivers’ attention away from their driving. One sees this everywhere now, and it is quickly becoming a major cause of traffic accidents, some of them fatal. This will more and more be the cause of major traffic accidents, and now the Village of East Hampton has become one of the promoters of this problem. (Car manufacturers who offer or feature the distraction of a video screen in their dashboards should also become legally responsible for such accidents.)

With both East Hampton Village and now we find out Sag Harbor enforcing the use of parking apps I may have to soon completely abandon patronizing businesses in either village. I suppose the only winners in this will be Bridgehampton Commons and Amazon.


Those not using the ParkMobile app can set up their accounts by phone. Ed.


Parking App
East Hampton
May 23, 2021

Dear East Hampton Star,

This is in response to “What The Parking App Won’t Tell You” as well as my own concerns about this new development.

To begin with, all cybersecurity is, in my opinion, a joke. While the principle seems sound, most cybersecurity involves encryptions and firewalls which may be proof against most hackers but certainly not all and certainly not the ones who are determined either to profit from our private information or wreak havoc with the world. The reason is that if a computer designed the encryption, a computer can break it or find a way around it. All computer systems have back doors, a fact exploited by the original film of “War Games.” I’ve known enough computer programmers who were white-hat hackers back in the day and I have no doubt that they could crack most cybersecurity, even with the most cutting-edge tech and chip sets. The simple fact is that if someone wants your information, they will get it. This is one reason I would never own a cellphone or WiFi-enabled device of any kind.

In fact, the primary reason I won’t own a cellphone or smartphone or similar device is that I can’t for medical reasons. [ . . . ] The point is that I have never owned a cellphone and never will. This means that I get disenfranchised from a lot of stuff, most of which I don’t want anyway.

This is one of the rare times I feel that I really am being discriminated against. I have lived in East Hampton my entire life. For 53 years, there has never been a monetary price for parking in either of the two parking lots. I thought the ticket system was a waste of both money and paper, but I complied. The fact is that I use one of these lots practically on a daily basis — or at least I did until now. Not only am I afraid of being ticketed, but I feel that it’s a bit much to add yet more money to my breakfast from the Golden Pear or my bill from the hardware store. In better times, I also rely on that parking lot when I have to visit my therapist. I suffer from severe (non-chemical) depression. I have not had the courage to visit the parking lot since the new law went into effect. Certainly, I don’t need to get breakfast at the Golden Pear, nor do I need to get what I want at Village Hardware. But the fact is that I have been a regular customer of both businesses since they opened and this new parking system is forcing me not to patronize them — something I am loath to do.

I was told that the system makes allowances for those of us without smartphones and that a village beach sticker is enough to prove residence. The thing is that I’m waiting for my sticker in the mail since Village Hall is now closed to the public. I do have a current dump sticker and beach stickers from the past 10 years or so on my window. Would that be kosher? Or would one of the Green Betties simply write me a ticket? The fact that the article didn’t mention the beach sticker aspect makes me a bit nervous.

To reiterate from a past letter, this whole idea of paying for parking which we never had to do in the past really stinks of something rotten and underhanded. The reasoning behind the whole idea of this system is to pay for a new sewer system that ought to be paid for by our taxes — we certainly do pay enough and see very little in return. I have to wonder who, besides ParkMobile, is benefiting from this arrangement. The whole thing stinks of greed and a certain amount of absolute stupidity and lack of thought for those who will be most affected. It’s yet another blow to a village that was once much easier to live in. For the foreseeable future, I won’t be shopping in East Hampton.




‘Contrary’ Effects
Gardners, Pa.
May 20, 2021

Dear Editor:

Even though I’m in Pennsylvania attending my granddaughter’s college graduation, I read the online version of The Star and the letter I wrote about oyster farming. The letter echoes what I’ve written before expressing my concern about the negative effects oyster farms may have on the environment. For the first time the editors of The Star have made a comment.

In that letter, as in my previous letters, I said there was some “contrary opinion” about the environmental benefit of oyster mariculture and I gave as an example an article from the Audubon Society and a master’s thesis by Chelsea Duball, both published online. The Star determined my use of the word “contrary “ was stretching a point of the master’s thesis, explaining that Ms. Duball was, actually, less contrary in her conclusions about oyster farming then I interpreted.

Okay. Her master’s thesis is over 100 pages full of chemistry, math, graphs, and terms difficult for me to understand, but I believe I did get it that oysters can have “contrary” effects on the environment, which is far more important then my poor emphasis on the word. I sincerely thank the editors for pointing out errors of something I have said because it shows they’re paying attention.

Oysters, for example, have been promoted as having the ability to remove nitrogen from the water, but there’s growing evidence there isn’t a long-term benefit. If, in their millions, they don’t do as promised, do millions of them do something we didn’t foresee — like eat all the available food to the starvation of everything else?

I believe there’s a cost to what we do, especially if we’re trying to rectify past mistakes with another mistake. If, however, we don’t know if what we’re being told is the whole truth or people refuse to recognize there may be contrary facts, the real cost could be far higher then we want to pay.

I’m not sure oysters are a bad thing. I do know how bad the bay environment has become since large-scale oyster farming has been introduced. We need to understand everything including contrary truth. Maybe The Star would like to begin to discuss that.



Beetles Struck Again
East Hampton
May 24, 2021

Dear David,

My first encounter with the Southern pine beetle was about six years ago. A pitch (black) pine tree on the northeast corner of my property was killed within six weeks. I immediately had the tree cut down and removed. I have watched other pines on my property ever since.

Last spring, three more pine trees began looking sick. I had my reliable tree company come and look. The beetles had struck again. Three more trees. I felt sick.

I called the Department of Environmental Conservation forest and health information line and spoke to a genuinely nice gentleman. He offered to come out and look at my property. I accepted. We met and spoke for over an hour and he walked my property and down the street I live on in the Northwest Woods part of East Hampton. He pointed out many different things going on in our woods.

He was unable to tell me if it was the Southern pine beetle or another beetle, the turpentine beetle, which attacks white pines, since the trees in question were now only two-foot stumps (you need about 10 feet of trunk to determine which beetle is in the tree). However, on my street there were about 20 dead black and white pine trees, dozens of both white and black pines were dying and at least one white pine tree had both beetles. So yes, the beetles are jumping tree species.

You see, the Southern pine beetle can kill a black pine tree in about six weeks. The turpentine beetle kills a white pine tree in three to four years.

I also called the Town of East Hampton and was asked if I wanted them to come and look, but I declined after hearing that nothing was being done about this problem. Besides, I had already had the state specialist here.

I received some interesting information, including that the Town of East Hampton declined any help from the D.E.C., except to take money from them, that the town had done nothing about this problem for the last three years, and finally, since my inquiries to the D.E.C., town, and Fred Thiele’s office, your newspaper published an article that the town was starting to “deal with this problem” again.

The damage has been done. When the state came in four years ago and cut down trees on Swamp Road, Edwards Hole Road, and Route 114 they left the felled trees. The town should have then removed them but did not bother. The supervisor even got the town legal department involved to confirm that the town did not have to remove the trees. After multiple complaints about not removing the felled trees, the town just stopped saving the woods.

The beetles did not stop, and I believe the problem is now irreparable. My best guess is that there are over 1,000 acres that are infected, with the problem expanding daily.

At present, there is no pesticide legal in the State of New York to combat these beetles. The present “therapy” if you can call it that, is to fell the tree and split it open to kill the larvae. However, by leaving these trees on the ground the town has opened residents up to multiple new problems.

A perfect environment has been created for ticks, mosquitos, carpenter ants, borer bees, and mice. All these species carry multiple diseases that residents of East Hampton have contracted and, in some cases, died from. They can also cause tens of thousand of dollars of damage to the homes near these fields of felled trees.

There is now a fire hazard on multiple roads throughout Northwest. I hope that the fire marshals take a close look at their ability to have access to certain roads and houses if these fields of felled trees get hit by lightning. Especially now with the lack of rain we have had. It would be the height of hubris if the new fire department building on the corner of Old Northwest Road were inaccessible due to the dead trees near the building catching fire.

Dozens of dead trees are also in falling distance of the Veterans of Foreign Wars tank on Montauk Highway in East Hampton Village, near Wainscott.

At least 100 dead trees are still standing within falling distance of power lines throughout northwest East Hampton. One good wind and thousands of people could be without power. I do not understand how the town could put our firefighters and residents’ health and safety at risk.

This problem affects thousands of residents who live in the northwest and western portions of East Hampton. If you live near Route 114, Swamp Road, or Old Northwest Road, I strongly suggest you walk your property and check your trees. Contact a good tree company and have them remove the infected trees immediately.

Stay safe,



Unanswered Questions
May 23,2021

Dear David,

“Who is Silvia? What is she?” A line from a Shakespeare poem haunts me.

It leaves me with many Town Board questions.

Is it true that Councilwoman Sylvia Overby had been in Florida from the end of December 2020 until very recently?

Are the rumors true?

I watch town board meetings in which she was probably zooming from Florida as we in East Hampton struggled with the pandemic and isolation, along with many who waited on long lines for packages at the local post offices while perhaps Sylvia enjoyed the Florida sunshine.

Did taxpayers take care of her salary during that period of time — five months? Did the supervisor approve her absence from town? Where is the town leadership?

Would former Supervisor Larry Cantwell have ever allowed his board members not to be present? I don’t think so.

Lots of unanswered questions for this town board supervisor and for Sylvia.



‘Other’ Democrats
May 22, 2021

Dear David,

After seeing the large ad that the Democratic committee placed in Thursday’s Star claiming the title “We’re the Democrats” over the pictures of our current supervisor, councilwoman, and the current chairwoman of the Democratic committee (all are running for town board) the word “entitlement” was all I could think about.

As a lifelong Democrat and a former member of the Democratic committee for 10 years, I feel that entitlement is the perfect word that comes to mind. It’s exactly the state of mind of our local Democratic town board members and the Democratic committee when they believe that whatever they do is right. To me it smacks of arrogance, haughtiness, and loftiness.

Friends and fellow Democrats, there are other exceptional Democrats running for office. It’s entitlement when the select few of the Democratic committee feel they can pick and choose the candidates of East Hampton and elect them to our town board.

These entitled candidates (or the chosen ones) insult others’ achievements in order to position themselves as the best this town can elect. They also get angry if others don’t follow their way of thinking — I’ve seen that firsthand by watching the town board meetings and the attacks by two longtime members of the board toward another board member. It’s disgusting and arrogant behavior on their part.

The board follows their leader, the supervisor (or the Boss), and all they do is attack a fellow board member because the supervisor sets the tone. Then it becomes four against one in the attack. Is this the kind of leadership this town wants for another two years??

The question of how to fix this entitlement issue is simple. Get out and vote for the “other” capable Democrats running in the Democratic primary on June 22. These three very capable and competent people don’t feel entitled but want to contribute their expertise to this community: incumbent Councilman Jeff Bragman, a person who listens and contributes to making this town a better place, John Whelan, zoning board chairman for over six years, and Rick Drew, an incumbent trustee for the past six years.

Let’s fix that by giving these three exceptional Democrats your vote on Primary Day, Tuesday, June 22. Early voting begins June 12 — Mark your calendars.




Poor Planning
May 24, 2021

To the Editor,

With the extended sabbatical the town board had taken these past several months, I had hoped they would have come up with a long-term permanent plan that would be more sensible and practical with regards to parking. What we’re hearing is that there will be a $50 permit requirement for nonresidents. Is this the best thing they can come up with? Realizing that if approximately 1,000 nonresidents purchase the parking permit option, the gross revenue collected would be approximately $50,000, hardly enough to cover the cost of officers’ time and payroll to inspect the vehicles to insure compliance with a permit, not to mention the time it takes to issue and/or collect ticketed fines.

Years ago, there was a volunteer committee that walked and mapped out the various parking possibilities, along with one-way street potentials. Once again, meetings, research, solutions, etc. with no follow-through, just a waste of time that produced nothing.

So here we go again, another season upon us with lack of adequate and logical controls. What thought has gone into day trippers that do not purchase seasonal permits? As with past years, most likely they will take up parking areas needed for the local businesses throughout our town. And do we really need to see all the blue wooden horses accompanied with unsightly signage blocking every potential space in town? Poor planning as usual with this town administration, a day late and a dollar short as they say. In essence, a lack of proactive planning or understanding what a quality of life means to its residents.

I can only add that within the Town of East Hampton, each hamlet lacks proper representation for the taxes paid. We need more common sense and logic displayed or many town issues will never go away.


Candidate for East Hampton Town supervisor


Montauk Airport
May 19, 2021

Dear David,

I note the concerns expressed last week by Tom Bogdan on closing East Hampton Airport, thus diverting operations to Montauk. I respect that, as no one (other than the aviation community) would wish to inflict anything like the airport on our neighbors to the east. However, it is important to note several quantitative differences between these airports.

Montauk is far smaller, with short runways not able to handle the huge jets blasting into East Hampton. There are no facilities (terminal, restrooms, rental car, parking, etc.) in Montauk. Montauk is approximately 40 to 50 minutes from Bridgehampton in summer, and would require 10 to 15 additional minutes by chopper, adding at least an hour to the trip for anyone coming back that far west, which is a lot of the users.

Why would someone spend far more money for a loud, polluting, dangerous trip from New York City of about the same duration as that of car or train or bus? Why would a Southampton pilot not use Gabreski or Calverton?

There is no control tower in Montauk. Montauk is a private airport with latitude to restrict all manner of use. Thus, the fear that Montauk will “replace” East Hampton is irrational. Could Montauk see some increase in volume after East Hampton is repurposed for the common good? Perhaps if the owner grants same, but is that sufficient reason to keep East Hampton Airport open as the pollution engine it is?

One long-term solution would be the town, county, and state purchasing Montauk Airport and using that as a wonderful, quiet, safe, and healthy public space. And the second is the long-overdue transformation of our enduring embarrassment, the Long Island Rail Road, into something fit for the 20th century, rather than the 19th.

The whole world is moving from hazardous carbon emissions toward energy-efficient transport systems. East Hampton should at least be in the middle of this, if not the forefront.



Level of Importance
May 21, 2021

To the Editor, 

During the May 11, East Hampton Town Council meeting concerning closure of the East Hampton Airport, Councilman Bragman stated that Montauk concerns must be taken and evaluated in equal context with other Long Island communities that are affected at present by airport noise. Councilman Bragman reminded Montauk that he had a “moral responsibility” in considering these communities’ issues on a par with those of Montauk’s concerns.

Once again, Montauk United reminds both Councilman Bragman and the entire town board that Montauk is a legal, legitimate, and major part of the Town of East Hampton, its people having the absolute right to the same primary attention, representation, and protection as any other of its citizens’ special interest groups. To consider and/or value Montauk’s legitimate concerns and issues on a lesser plane than other groups within the community is morally offensive, but to place those same concerns on an equal- value level of importance with other distant Long Island community problems is a gross misunderstanding of an East Hampton Town elected official’s major responsibility.

It is a sad commentary when the people of Montauk must continuously remind its town board of the need for fairness and primary interest and attention to all the concerns of the citizens of East Hampton Town.



The Right Thing
May 13, 2021

Dear David:

The last line of your editorial needs no further comment (May 13, “Goodbye to the Kind-of Quiet Skies.” It is the right thing for the people of this town, the safety, health, and well being of every person in this town.

I wish they had put on 1-800-Report-Your-Spending so they could keep destroying our peace, safety, and health. The report that puts a number on that amount is comical to say the least. The commission had an Endicia credit reporting system device under their desk? Where are the actual receipts? Notice there was no mention of the large jets one of whom requires a 6,400-foot-long runway? Where are the runway specifications on the other large jets? Rolling thunder when they fly low over the village as they take off and land.

Barry Raebeck put forth facts that validate the “Pollution Machine” that has plagued us since its inception: Leaded fuel burns and spreads through the exhaust as full-throttle takeoff starts — over square miles. Stand near the terminal, as jets are idle while waiting for passengers. It will burn your throat and eyes!

Wainscott families had been drinking PFOS and PFOA chemicals from their polluted wells for years. Public water installed made it safer. The rusting barrels of unidentified petrochemical solvents were outside of the old East Hampton Air terminal, and wasn’t that declared a toxic site? Where are the records that the state took action? The test well at the entrance to the airport was paved over with a parking lot; there is one remaining there, just north of the entrance. No mention of the others in the hangar areas.

It seems the danger of low-flying planes, often as low as 75 or 100 feet, over homes continues daily. (Note telephone poles 100 feet apart.) The omnipresent danger it poses is a horror waiting to happen. Of course, we have the pilots’ “pledge” to be aware and prevent this. Just like the “elevate to 1,000 feet before turning” sign that was posted.

Of course the pandemic reduced operations. Duh? However at 6:10 a.m. last Sunday, the two helicopters that shook my house and blew me out of bed were obeying altitude. They couldn’t care less. They need to be charged, as was the moron that buzzed Sag Harbor.

What is more important than the safety of the residents of the town that are impacted every single day? They are the people who suffer. Of course the study avoided the fact that there is a large commercial airport in Westhampton Beach. We cannot inconvenience the deep pockets who would have to drive here like the rest of us, as in a big helicopter landed and one woman and her dog got out.

The F.A.A. grant assurances expire in September. And the time is of the essence to eliminate the ever-present danger and pollution. Why are our rights taking a back seat? Downsizing operations is not acceptable. Close it — 32 years is enough!

Yours truly,



Just 27 Words
May 21, 2021

Dear David,

It’s troubling that some who cite the United States Constitution in defense of their gun rights seem not to have read it. Amendment 2, just 27 words, and adopted in 1791 in the wake of the Revolutionary War, says nothing about individuals having the right to own and carry guns. To wit: “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed” (the passive sentence construction argues a negative, not the strongest way to advance a position).

That opening phrase, “A well regulated ‘Militia,’” on which the clause to follow depends, tends to be ignored by those who reference the amendment, and the plural noun “people” somehow gets translated to individuals, who would have had to be citizens, in any case in the late 18th century. Especially for those who support “originalist” interpretations of the Constitution, the failure to cite and define “militia” as a “necessary” force designated and invoked by a “state” in order to protect “security” says a lot about the ease with which some gun-rights advocates ignore language and history.

Since the adoption of the second amendment, two critical (and comparatively recent) 5 to 4 Supreme Court rulings have advanced interpretations that reflect the extent to which race and culture affect the amendment, but even Justice Antonin Scalia, who argued in favor of an individual’s right to possess a firearm, made mention of traditionally lawful purposes, such as “self-defense within the home.”



Two Words
May 18, 2021

To the Editor,

Suffolk County’s Anastasios Tsakos, a New York City police officer killed in the line of duty, has already been buried, but his killer (virtual “murderer”) will probably remain alive for many decades — even if some of them are spent inside a prison cell. Therefore, I hereby demand that the New York State Legislature change the two words, “up to,” preceding the number of maximum years in prison that they too-leniently allow killers to be sentenced to for felony crimes that result in death for decent, law-abiding victims, to “at least” or else have the number of years followed by any of these two-word phrases: “or more,” “or double,” or “triple.”

I would only agree with the Queens D.A. “seek the maximum felony charges” against the killer who virtually murdered Taso Tsakos by an unlicensed, drunk driver if those charges allowed the death penalty or life without parole. Otherwise there’s nothing close to justice, since the killer gets to resume “its” life at some point, while the dead victim never does.



Mired in Malignancy
East Hampton
May 23, 2021


The past year was absolutely extraordinary. We managed to survive the pandemic, get through an economic disaster, hold a historic election, and witness an attack on the Capitol. That we survived is a testament to the American people given that our leadership and half of the government were dysfunctional and psychotic. Believing that they could solve the problems with an endless flow of bullshit and mindless babbling.

As the pandemic winds down, it is impossible to calculate the short and long-term effects. Fear, anxiety, uncertainty are more normal than not. Being shut down for more than a year has frayed relationships, destroyed self-confidence, created a fear that all this might not really be over. We know where we’ve been but not where we are going.

This is the environment Joe Biden inherited. Beyond the pandemic is the specter of four years where the abnormal became the normal. “When we are in the crapper, we pull together” is no longer our political mantra. Half of our political structure has refused to move on and remains mired in the malignancy of Trump.

Despite a demonstration of incompetence and gross insensitivity, the Republicans managed to do quite well in the election, instead of getting the thrashing they deserved. Trump was their only casualty. 

That the Republican Party has decided not to try and function in some bipartisan manner, for the good of a damaged country, is somewhat surprising given its recent electoral success — that the confusion and pain the nation was experiencing didn’t merit a brief respite from the abnormal. That it has tethered its cart to Trump and his policies of election denial, obstructing Biden, and supporting Jan. 6 shows how profoundly screwed up and self- absorbed they really are.

There have been 361 election-related bills in three months, anti-abortion bills in multiple states that support racial violence and the death penalty. Denial of Jan. 6 as a threat to our democracy.

The Republicans’ decision was based on an intimate knowledge or lack of knowledge regarding the American people. Four out of 10 high school students couldn’t identify the participants in the U.S. Civil War. One out of 10 knew who Albert Einstein was, and 1 out of 100 had heard of Karl Marx.

Pervasive ignorance is the feeding ground for misinformation and deception. People will believe anything if it’s repeated more than once.

The recent violence in the Middle East, as explained by Tom Friedman in his New York Times Op-Ed piece, defines the Republicans to a T. Friedman explains that only Hamas and Netanyahu benefit from the fighting that killed 600 people and destroyed $300 million in property. They both declare victory. People are parading in the streets. They secure power. Nothing has changed. What was the point?

We showed remarkable courage and strength in getting through the past year, yet we are gullible and frighteningly ignorant, vulnerable, and unaware that we are being ripped off and abused, delusional about how good we are as a nation when no one in the world is really good or claims to be.


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